It’s all in the timing

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It’s all in the timing

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Ever notice that some of your blog posts, Facebook posts, emails, and tweets catch on like wildfire while some others fall flat, regardless of the content?

The answer may well be in the timing of your post or tweet.

And with that, let me introduce one of my favorite social media gurus (a real one, not some schmo who assigned himself the title), Dan Zarrella, Social Media Scientist at HubSpot. For years now, Dan has been nailing down the science of social media to bust myths (the so-called conventional wisdom he refers to as “unicorns and rainbows”) and show us how the social universe really ticks.

The many faces of timing

Just a couple of days ago, Dan presented his latest findings in a webinar titled The Science of Timing. I highly recommend you check out the recorded webinar, and I’ve embedded the slides below. That said, here’s a quick rundown of what Dan had to share:

  • There’s definite power in contra-competitive timing, sending out your communications at a time when there’s less noise in the environment
  • Twitter timing:
  • The most “retweetable” times are late in the day (2–5 pm ET) and late in the week … but there’s not much day-by-day variation, so don’t be afraid to tweet on the weekends
  • Tweeters who have the most followers tweet 22 times per day, so don’t be afraid of over-tweeting
  • You can tweet the same link more than once; just be sure to change up the content of the tweet
  • Tweets to your own content (e.g., blog posts, events, webinars) need “room to breathe,” so try not to tweet right before or right afterwards
  • Facebook timing:
    • Facebook shares tend to spike on the weekends, when people have more time to digest your content (including B2B contacts)
    • Early in the day is the most “sharable” time for Facebook posts
  • Email timing:
    • Open rates and clickthroughs are highest on the weekends and early in the morning—again, people have more time to review and absorb your content
    • Don’t be afraid to send emails more often; once you get past 3–4 emails per month, frequency doesn’t have a big effect on clickthroughs
    • Your newest subscribers are your best: newer subscribers have higher clickthrough rates, so make sure you’re taking good care of your recent recruits
  • Blog post timing:
    • Know your audience; men, for example, report reading blogs in the evening much more than do women
    • Post views by day dip on the weekends, highest on Mondays
    • Views by hour peak around 10–11 am ET, posts that hit readers right around lunchtime
    • Link rates are highest on Mondays and Thursdays, right around 6–7 am ET
    • Blogs that post more than once a day get way more links and unique views, so blog more frequently

Of course, as Dan himself says many times throughout the webinar, these are findings based on aggregated data; you’ll still need to experiment with your own audience to see what works best.

A tool of the trade

To help you do that, HubSpot launched a free tool called TweetWhen. Just enter your Twitter handle and you’ll see on which days and at which times you get the most retweets. I just found out that for me at least, the most “retweetable” time is 12 pm on Thursdays. Now, that’s not to say that I’ll be trying to cram all my tweets into that magic hour, but it’s good to know for when I want to publish my own content.

If you have some time, I highly recommend you check out Dan’s recorded webinar, or at least have a flip through the slides:

View more presentations from HubSpot Internet Marketing

So, what’s your experience in this wacky world of social communication timing? Drop a note in the comments and share your secrets!


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